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2016 Season In Review: Jimmie Johnson

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Jimmie Johnson

CREW CHIEF: Chad Knaus

TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports

POINTS: 1st

WINS: 5

LAPS LED: 737

TOP 5s: 11

TOP 10s: 16

POLES: 1 (Loudon 1)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Won 7th Cup championship (2006-2010, 2013, 2016), tying him for most titles with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. … Earned wins at Atlanta, Fontana, and three in the Chase for the Championship: Charlotte 2, Martinsville 2 and Homestead. … His five wins gives him 80 in his Cup career, seventh on NASCAR’s all-time wins list.

WHAT WENT WRONG: It’s hard to say anything went wrong for a driver who ultimately won the championship. But Johnson did have a few struggles along the way, including four DNFs (all crash-related, with finishes of 32nd or lower) in nine-race stretch from Pocono 1 through Watkins Glen. … Johnson’s route to the championship wasn’t easy: he had to overcome two bad finishes in the Chase – 23rd at Talladega 2 and 38th at Phoenix 2.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017: Now that he’s conquered the unique Chase elimination format and earned his elusive seventh championship, tying him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, attention now turns to whether Johnson can break that record in 2017 (or . The nucleus of his team remains intact, Johnson is in excellent physical shape and remains as motivated to win more races and titles as he ever has.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

NASCAR America: NASCAR’s stars hit the track for the ‘Little 600’ (video)

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Like more than three dozen of his NASCAR Cup counterparts, Joey Logano is gearing up for the longest race of the year, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

To warm up, Logano, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and other NASCAR drivers headed to the GoPro Motorplex in North Carolina for the “Little 600.”

Check out how they fared in the above video that was on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

 

Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, marking the second consecutive race at Charlotte Motor Speedway he has led the field to the green flag.

Harvick, a two-time Coke 600 winner, earned the top starting spot Thursday night with a lap of 193.424 mph in his Ford. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch, who won last weekend’s All-Star Race.

Chase Elliott starts third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Erik Jones.

Points leader Kyle Larson will start 39th in the 40-car field after not making a qualifying attempt. He hit the wall in practice and then his team couldn’t get through qualifying inspection until one minute remained in the opening round of the session. The team was unable to get Larson out of the garage in time to make an attempt.

Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Slugger Labbe: How do crew chiefs prepare for grueling Coca-Cola 600? (video)

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Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe stopped by the NASCAR America studio in Charlotte on Thursday.

Labbe gave his perspective on how NASCAR Cup crew chiefs will prepare for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. While the race length will be the same as it has been for decades, one significant change will have crew chiefs developing strategy that they’ve never had to deal with in the 600, namely, four different race stages.

Labbe also gave his take on the positives and negatives of the Laser Inspection Station for both pre- and post-race inspections.

Check out the above video.

NASCAR: Remembering Martin Truex Jr.’s dominating 2016 Coca-Cola 600 win

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In one of the most dominating performances in NASCAR history, Martin Truex Jr. turned last year’s Coca-Cola 600 into a runaway one-man show, leading the field for 392 of 400 laps.

Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America took a look back at Truex’s record-setting win.

Check out the video above.